Ascension
The winter stated meeting of the Presbytery of the Ascension met January 29, hosted by the Faith Presbyterian Church, Akron, Ohio. The host church is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Outgoing Moderator TE Scott Wright convened Presbytery and preached the opening sermon on the text from Exodus 34:1-8. He set forth the crucial nature of the doctrine of justification in the context of today's declension from the Biblical truth. The continuity of this doctrine between both testaments was underscored, the wonder of the grace involved being seen in Moses' bowing low before the earth and worshiping. The new moderator, RE Richard L. McBane, was introduced. He is a member of the host church. TE Jeffrey Noyes was introduced as vice moderator. The Stated Clerk's report included a briefing of the Stated Clerk's meeting in Atlanta. The nominations committee presented nominees for the presbytery committees, G.A. permanent committees, and G.A. committees of commissioners. As elected, the new presbytery committees convened before lunch to elect their officers for the current year. TE Robert Peterson, chairman of the Administration Committee, brought several items of business, including the approval of the year 2000 budget. The following motion with respect to presbytery minutes was approved unanimously: "All approved minutes of Presbytery are to be considered as public records which are open to anyone who desires to see them. Ones who are not members of Presbytery shall bear the cost of reproduction. Presbytery may, by majority vote, determine that certain portions of the minutes are not open to the public. These portions shall be included as appendices to the minutes and shall be marked as 'restricted use only.'" The AC also presented a motion to enter into conversations with Pittsburgh Presbytery as to the feasibility of co-hosting a future General Assembly in Pittsburgh. Under the report of the Candidates and Credentials Committee, Mr. Robert Hill of Grove City, PA, was approved as a candidate under care of presbytery. At a called meeting of presbytery, December 21, 1999, one of the items dealt with was report of an Ad Hoc Committee on the TE John Wood Matter and Tennessee Valley Presbytery's inaction with respect to women preaching. The committee recommended that Presbytery challenge the SJC leadership's ruling that the overture asking the General Assembly to take up original jurisdiction in the matter was "out of order." The appeal of this matter, plus the re-submitting of the overture and a reference to the Constitutional Business Committee were all approved in substance and the Ad Hoc Committee was constituted a Commission to perfect the language and see to its completion. TE Carl W. Bogue, chairman of the Commission reported that their work was completed. Ministerial Relations Committee chairman, RE George Caler, brought the committee's recommendations for changes in the Standing Rules. One issue hotly debated and in need of clarification concerns the issue of if or when the presbytery may insert itself in a local congregation when a presumption of a problem exists but the presbytery has not been invited in to assist. After much discussion the matter was referred back to committee. Mission to North America reported on the progress of two church plants in Clarion and Venango Counties in Pennsylvania. A search committee to seek a church planter to work with both of these groups was approved, as well as funding to assist in accomplishing this. In an item postponed from the October meeting, the motion to terminate TE Byron Curtis' permission to labor within the bounds of the presbytery was defeated on a close voice vote. Several overtures presented were referred to committee, and Presbytery adjourned. -Carl W. Bogue, Correspondent